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ALEXANDER  TOH  HUMBOLDT.               215
thirstihess, they drink the "blood of their enemy, or
murder him when apparently -unarmed, with a poi-
soned thumbnail. The weaker tribes of men carefully
conceal with their hands the trace of their timid foot-
paths from their stronger enemies. Thus man, on
the lowest stage of savage barbarism, as in the appa-
rent splendour of civilization, always makes his life
wearisome ; and the same desolating picture of the
hostilely-divided human race pursues the wanderer
over land and sea, and the historian through all
centuries. Therefore, he who longs for mental repbse
in the endless quarrel of nations, directs his attention
to the calm life of plants, and the secret workings of
holy nature; or, confiding in the inborn instinct which
for centuries has glowed in the heart of man, he looks
hopefully up to the high stars, which pursue their
old eternal course in tmdisturbed harmony/*
ASCENT OF  THE  SIT.JLA   OF  CARACAS.
It was difficult to find a guide to the mountain;
the hunters do not go so high, and Humboldt^s inten-
tion of collecting plants, breaking off stones, and insti-
tuting   barometric   and   thermometric   observations,
were things unknown here.    By the intervention of
the governor, some negroes were appointed to guide
Mm.    As it was the season, in which two fine days
rarely succeed   each   other,  Humboldt    determined
~to start on his journey on a day when the clouds
would have lowered, and an approaching clearer at-
mosphere might be anticipated.    The mountain ascent
was commenced on the 22nd January by a company
of eighteen persons, who rested for the night in a
coffee plantation near a precipice.    The night was
very clear, and they made use of it  for astrorixxmic
observations.    At five   o'clock in the  morning,   the
company started again on the narrow pathway^ fol-
lowed by slaves who carried the instruments.    They
reached the promontory of Silla5 called by the shop-